When fifteen-year-old Greyson Bennell volunteers to help with the cleanup effort after a massive mudslide devastates his California town, he is not expecting anything but some hard work--but this disaster was caused by a very peculiar storm and he soon realizes that the mud itself is making the other volunteers behave in an ominous manner.
A dangerous criminal has escaped from prison and is headed in the direction of New Brighton, where teenager Hamid Abdi is babysitting his twin cousins, but he is not worried until the twins tell him that a man dressed as a clown has been coming into their bedroom--and when the electricity goes out Hamid is pulled into their living nightmare.
When she hears the story about the screaming bridge, where a busload of orphans were killed fifty years before, sixteen-year-old Emma Donovan and her friends decide to investigate the abandoned orphanage and the bridge--and that is the beginning of a terrifying night for Emma.
Eighth-grader Emily Lemon wakes up and discovers that none of the gadgets around her house are working properly, and the computers at her middle school seem to have a mind of their own--but when the scoreboard in the gym displays the words "the revolution has begun, down with humanity" she realizes that humanity has lost control and civilization as we know it is in serious trouble.
Sam's father runs an antique store specializing in bizarre and unique collectibles, so buying the desk of a deceased horror movie director, and finding a old video-tape labeled "The Gaunt Man, only copy, do not watch" is not a surprise--but when Sam and his friends do watch the tape, they are horrified to realize they have released the gaunt man into the world.
Tenth-grader Mila Chun has no idea how to approach the boy she has a crush on, so her "friend" gives her a script--and suddenly she seems to be in the middle of a bad television show, complete with a mysterious laugh track, and reality is dissolving around her.
Even in tenth grade Val is still somewhat fascinated by anything to do with the supernatural, so when her "weird" cousin Veronica comes for the long weekend with a unique Ouija board, a bag of crystals, and a book of spells, Val is tempted--but when the nightmares start she begins to fear that Ronnie's love of the occult has woken up something dangerous.
Darius, Alec, Jasmine, and Sammi (the Wilderness Warriors) are on a late season camping trip to Pine Island in Lake Michigan, with Sammi's father, Mr. Horton, as their guide; but soon they find themselves followed by something that seems to be almost human, and their base camp is torn up--then one morning they wake up to find Mr. Horton missing, and suddenly the kids are in a fight for survival.